Latest research news

November 26, 2003

HIV cases in Britain rising 20% a year
The number of people infected with HIV in Britain is increasing by nearly 20 per cent a year and one third are unaware that they have the disease, according to public health officials. The Health Protection Agency said that latest figures showed that about 50,000 people in Britain are now HIV positive, up from 41,700 in 2002.
(Times)

Royal Colleges demand ban on smoking in public places
Smoking should be banned in public places in Britain, all 13 Royal Colleges of Medicine demanded today. They warned that employers had a duty to protect staff from harm and that smoke-free workplaces could save 150,000 lives in the long term. In a letter to The Times , 18 signatories, headed by president of the Royal College of Physicians, Carol Black, criticised the current system of self regulation.
(Independent, Times)

Debate on GM crops 'beset by confusion'
The results of the farm-scale trials of GM crops have been misrepresented, with those for and against the technology wrongly claiming victory, Lord May, president of the Royal Society, said yesterday. What the results actually showed, he said, was that the more herbicide farmers used on crops, the worse it was for wild plants and animals and the more the countryside suffered. What was really needed was a debate on modern farming methods and what kind of countryside Britain wanted.
(The Guardian)

Cinnamon spice produces healthier blood
Just half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day significantly reduces blood sugar levels in diabetics, a new study has found. The effect, which can be produced even by soaking a cinnamon stick your tea, could also benefit millions of non-diabetics who have blood sugar problem but are unaware of it. The discovery was initially made by accident, by Richard Anderson at the US Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland.
(New Scientist)

Sea urchin is 'practically immortal', say scientists
Life for the red sea urchin might be brutish but it certainly is not short: scientists have discovered the spine-covered creature can live for 200 years. The urchins live in shallow waters off America's west coast. Thomas Ebert, a marine biologist at Oregon State University, said: "These red sea urchins appear to be practically immortal. The evidence shows a 100-year-old red sea urchin is just as apt to live another year, or reproduce, as a 10-year-old sea urchin."
(Independent)

Algae threat to coral
Scientists are concerned about a mysterious blanket of golden noodle algae spreading over Australia's Great Barrier Reef. They are worried that it could smother adult corals and stop new polyps from settling and developing on the coral structure.
(The Guardian)

American super-quake caused Japanese deluge
An earthquake that struck North America in 1700 was one of the most powerful ever seen, new research suggests. It triggered a 5-metre-high tsunami that traversed the Pacific Ocean and crashed into Japan's shoreline, flooding fields and destroying homes. The quake stretched from Vancouver in Canada to Mendocino, California, and was a chart-topping magnitude 9 on the Richter scale, a team of geologists from Japan, Canada and the United States now concludes.
(Nature)

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